New digital platform set to transform urgent suspected skin cancer referrals in East Lancashire

Date posted: 20th March 2024 New digital platform set to transform urgent suspected skin cancer referrals in East Lancashire thumbnail image

A new digital dermatology platform is set to cut waiting times for patients in East Lancashire with suspected skin cancer.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) has begun using the Pathpoint eDerma technology to help better manage the growing pressures on its dermatology department as rates of skin cancer rise.  

Teledermatology sees a healthcare professional take a high-quality image of a patient’s possibly cancerous skin issue. A skin cancer specialist can then review patient images remotely on the online platform, which has been created by health technology company Open Medical, to determine whether a lesion may be cancerous and if the patient needs a face-to-face examination.

The technology is being funded for three years by Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Alliance, part of Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, to reduce the demand for in-person appointments on busy dermatology departments and therefore cut the time it takes for patients to have cancer diagnosed and begin treatment if they need it, or get the 'all clear'.  

Mr Ken McAlister, consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon at ELHT said: “Demand for suspected skin cancer referrals has never been so high -  of the one million referrals into dermatology each year, nationally, about half are urgent skin cancer referrals – so I’m very pleased that we have been able to introduce Pathpoint eDerma at ELHT so that we can prioritise face-to-face appointments with consultants for the patients who need it the most.

“Ultimately, this new system is about offering faster care for our patients, enabling them to avoid the worry of an urgent suspected skin cancer referral if it’s not necessary, and when it is, making their experience as smooth and swift as possible.”

Cancer Research UK predicts that by 2040, skin cancer cases will rise by 50 per cent, reaching up to 26,500 annually. It is thought that this increase is attributed to the boom in affordable package holidays during the 1960s.

Dr. Michael Shenouda, chief commercial officer at Open Medical, commented on the launch: “We are delighted to see the launch of Pathpoint eDerma at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. This represents a significant leap forward in managing the demand for skin cancer referrals, improving efficiency and delivering more timely care to patients by focusing on the core aspects of the patient pathway that matter the most to patients and their healthcare professionals.

“The project will aim to reduce the burden on secondary care while providing real-time visibility on all potential cancer patients going through the pathway to ensure timely diagnosis and intervention for all who need it.”

Accessibility tools

Return to header